Comma Press and UCLan open submissions for the Dinesh Prize 2022

Comma Press and the University of Central Lancashire open submissions for the fifth year of The Dinesh Allirajah Prize for Short Fiction.


Comma Press and the University of Central Lancashire, along with media partner Northern Soul, are delighted to announce that they will once again deliver the Dinesh Allirajah Prize for Short Fiction with the theme ‘Crime Stories’.


Now in its fifth year, submissions will be open from the 7th July 2021 for the 2022 iteration of the prize. For all details on how to submit, click here.


Open to both published and un-published writers, this prize aims to seek out the best established and up and coming voices in the form, in honour of Dinesh Allirajah who passed away suddenly in 2015. Dinesh, who described himself as a jazz writer, lectured in creative writing at the University of Central Lancashire for eight years and was a long-term director of Comma Press.


The theme for the 2022 Prize will be ‘Crime Stories’. Crime was just one of many themes/genres tackled by Dinesh in his work, and something he reflected on through his blog, ‘Real Time Short Stories’. Comma also has experience publishing crime fiction, having published two CWA anthologies during Dinesh’s tenure, and want to use this increasingly popular genre to reach new writers with this year’s prize.


This year the prize welcomes an entirely new panel of judges, including successful crime writer, Karline Smith; editor at Northodox Press, specialising in crime fiction, Tom Ashton; senior lecturer at UCLan, Helen Day and writer for Northern Soul, Kevin Bourke.


UCLan students will also once again participate in the judging process, devising the shortlist from which the winner will be selected by the judges.

Becca Parkinson, coordinating the prize at Comma Press, said: “Crime fiction is one of the bestselling genres of books in the UK today, and with so many readers enjoying crime fiction, we hope that budding writers may be inspired to turn their hand to our competition theme this year. When the team at UCLan and I reviewed Dinesh’s oeuvre, crime was a genre which repeatedly arose, and we thought it would serve as an exciting and intriguing prompt.”


Kevin Bourke, writer for Northern Soul who will be judging the prize, said “If the short story is the perfect literary form, and the ‘crime story’ is the most all-embracing of any literary genre, then what could be more exciting than the combination of the two in this year’s Dinesh Prize? I can’t wait to be thrilled by your submissions.”


Tom Ashton, editor at Northodox Press who will be judging the prize, said “I’m honoured and excited to be involved in judging this year's Dinesh Allirajah Prize. My first ever published work was short fiction, and I will forever retain a fondness for the form.”


Karline Smith, crime writer and judge for 2022, said “It’s an absolute pleasure to be one of the judges of the Dinesh Allirajah Prize for Short Fiction 2022. The standard is always high and the anticipation of talent fills me with excitement.”


To ensure parity, entries will be anonymous throughout the entire judging process. The winning writer will receive £500 and will have their story published online by Northern Soul. All shortlisted authors will be featured in an eBook anthology which will be published by Comma Press and sold online.


The prize is open to anyone based in the UK aged 18 or over, providing the story submitted has not been published anywhere else, online or in print. Entry is free but limited to one per writer, and the closing date for applications is 29th October 2021.


For all details on how to submit to the Dinesh Prize 2022, click here.